The Use of CBD to treat Irritable Bowel Disease
The Use of CBD to treat Irritable Bowel Disease
As you have likely read many times from a variety of sources, cannabinoids are being used by patients to treat a variety of ailments with varying, yet impressive degrees of success. This article examines the use of CBD on two debilitating conditions that come under the umbrella of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD): Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD). This article will reveal how both these serious conditions have been positively affected by using cannabinoids, particularly CBD.
According to a medical article, Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, by Dr. W. Ahmed and Dr. S. Katz, IBD “is a chronic inflammatory condition comprised of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease”.
What are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease?
Ulcerative colitis inflames the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum, while Crohn’s disease affects the entire digestive tract; from mouth to anus. A Mayo Clinic article (Ulcerative Colitis) outlines the following symptoms for UC: “diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, rectal pain and bleeding, urgency to defecate and inability to do so, weight loss, fatigue, fever and in children, a failure to grow.”
Crohn’s Disease causes a severe inflammation in the digestive system, often focusing on the small or large intestine, resulting in a swelling of the abdominal area, vomiting, diarrhea, dangerous weight loss and other symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, oral ulcers and a feeling of malaise. It can be debilitating and presently, there is no actual cure using regular medicine, although surgery and medication can ease symptoms.
Using Mainstream Medicine as Compared to Using CBD for Treating these Diseases
The problem with using pharmaceuticals to treat ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease of course, is the onslaught of side effects such as infections, severe headaches, vomiting and many others. Cannabis however, particularly CBD, has been shown to give great relief with very mild side effects. As you know, the CBD component of cannabis has no psychoactive effects and is non-addictive, unlike some mainstream medications. It is being chosen by many patients who found no relief with traditional medicines. As Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Katz say in their article on the subject “…medical use of cannabis is increasing as patients choose complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over more conventional therapies.” Both doctors emphasize that much more testing needs to be done to prove the efficacy and safety of CBD in treating any IBD but you can’t argue with success and the doctors admit that patients using cannabis have had “successful management of abdominal pain, joint pain, cramping, diarrhea, poor appetite, weight loss, and nausea.” The doctors go on to say that patients turn to cannabis for relief due to the “ineffectiveness of current therapies, fewer side effects and a sense of control over the disease.” Ahmed and Katz cite a Canadian study in which most patients (82.1%) using CBD to control IBD, say they will continue to use it because it is effective and would recommend it to other patients.
How does CBD actually help Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease?
In an article entitled Ask a Doctor, Dr. Leah Zachar, states: “CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. CBD binds to the enteric glial cells that line the intestine and protect the lining from the inflammation caused by intestinal pathogens. Taking CBD orally is the best delivery because the CBD can work directly at the location of the active colitis.” Orally, you can swallow an oil, a pill or an edible but there are other ways to consume CBD, such as smoking it, inhaling it or dabbing it which is just smoking a more concentrated form of CBD in short bursts. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD also has pain-relieving and anti-bacterial properties, all of which are effective in treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
An internet cite (https://www.badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/medical-marijuana-and-ibd/) explains that the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) “helps our bodies regulate pain, mood, appetite, gastrointestinal motility , memory, emotions, stress response, immune function and more.” It goes on to explain that the body has cannabinoid receptors in many areas of the body, such as “the brain, muscles, fat and the entire GI tract”. Ingested CBD “fit into the same receptors” and trigger reactions that can help IBD symptoms. The article describes experiments done on rodents with induced colitis that reacted well to a combination of THC and CBD to reduce inflammation. Try CBD alone first because so many people have reported relief that way. You can always add in the THC at a later date. It should be pointed out that THC does have some negative side effects such as short-term memory loss, lower blood pressure and increased heart rate, so consider its usage carefully.
Should I try CBD to treat my IBD?
CBD can alleviate a lot of IBD’s painful symptoms so it is worth a try. Consider that CBD could lower the need for enormous amounts of harmful pharmaceuticals and possible surgeries. It can also reduce the number of bowel movements IBD sufferers report, from eight down to five.
If you are interested in using CBD to treat your disease, do not stop taking your regular medications until you speak to a doctor. Health Canada now has a medical cannabis program so doctors are much better informed about CBD than they used to be.